What Happens When Amazon or Facebook Comes After Your Business?

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It can be scary at times looking over your shoulder at a larger company that seems to have the intention of swallowing you whole. There are sharks in the tank that are gobbling up the rest of the fish, growing ever larger, taking over new terrain, all in the hopes of being the biggest and most powerful.

These sharks have names. They are called Google, and Amazon, and Facebook, and to a lesser extent Apple and Microsoft. They are tech giants, born to do one thing, grow.

They cross different industries and seem each to have economy-dominating aspirations at times.

And so you, with your little business, which is quite successful now, is constantly at risk of being pushed aside by one of these giants. Should they decide to enter your market and compete for your customers, what should you do?

1. Don’t Panic

I know they’re big and scary and as soon as they announce a new product or service it makes waves. But you are not in trouble just yet. The worst thing you can do – for your business and your health – is overreact and do something that doesn’t make sense. The best thing for you and your team to do is be patient. It’s business as usual until you have a clearly defined strategy for how to proceed.

2. Do Your Research

Get to the bottom of the threat. Make sure it is a threat. In the initial hype or announcement, a lot can get lost in translation. Do your best to look under the hood and find out exactly what you will be up against. It is only by knowing the details about their plans that you can develop your response.

3. Determine How You Win

There is a reason why you have been successful to this point. You are doing something right. Do you know what that is?

Your unique value proposition is the reason why customers do business with you in the first place. One of the sharks might go after your business, but they might not understand the real reason your customers chose you. So identify what you do well, and focus all your energies there.

4. Focus on Making Customers Happy

Your existing customers are your best defense against any impending threat. So long as they are happy, you won’t lose them. And with a customer base, you have an attentive audience and an army of potential sellers.

Continue to put your efforts into delivering on your promises and turn your customers into advocates on your behalf.

5. Consider Reaching Out

Often, when one of these tech giants first enters a new market, they may be looking for an easy win. And that might mean they are looking for existing companies to buy out.

Maybe you have no interest in selling. But then again, maybe you do. And if that’s the case, it never hurts to get in touch via a lawyer or experience sales agent.

Is Your Website Ready for Mobile-First Rankings?


It has been an open secret (in marketing circles at least) that Google has been using mobile usability as a ranking factor for some time. And they have hinted at that becoming an even larger factor going forward.

Now, there is no published guide, nor will there ever be, that tells marketers how Google ranks websites. But one thing is very clear, in a mobile world, mobile rankings matter. Google knows this, and if your company is late to creating a great mobile experience for your visitors, you are about to see your traffic tank.

Pretty soon, without a mobile-friendly website, customers won’t be able to find you. They will search on Google (by typing or speaking) and a whole bunch of your competitors will show up. But you won’t.

Your website may continue to get traffic from people coming there directly, or from desktop searches. But those are becoming a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. And pretty soon your traffic will fall to zero.

Don’t let that be you.

What Matters on Mobile

Mobile usability depends on three things:

  1. Speed. Speed always matters online. But it matters even more for mobile. When customers are on their phone, they want things fast. The longer your website takes to load, the more annoyed they get, and the more likely they get to hit the BACK button. Google doesn’t want them to do that. So the more people that do that, the lower your ranking will get.
  2. Navigation. The way your customers move around your website on a phone is different than on a desktop. Instead of links, they need buttons. Instead of nav bars, they need menus. If a user can’t find their way from point A to point B, they will get frustrated. The sooner they do, the more likely they are to leave your website. Google doesn’t want that, and you’re going to get punished for it.
  3. Readability. Content that does not resize to a user’s screen is often difficult to read or interact with. Too much clutter or tiny type size are two of the most painful mobile usability issues that still happen on many websites. But again, these issues will lead to unhappy users. And Google can’t abide unhappy users.

In Conclusion

If your website is not mobile-friendly, the time to change that is now. Even if it is, you can do better. And you have to do better, because the mobile-first ranking algorithm is coming for your customers.

The Growing Importance of Google and Facebook

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If you are in the marketing world, you probably already know what I am about to say. You probably think that I’m a few years late with this post…

But here’s why it’s still timely – the problem (if you consider it a problem) is getting worse.

I’m talking of course about the growing importance of Google and Facebook. These two behemoths are collectively responsible for over 60% of digital advertising revenue in the United States. No other company accounts for more than 5%.

Google and Facebook are not just Google and Facebook. They are Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube, Gmail, DoubleClick, and more. And they continue to gobble up smaller companies for their technology and platforms all the time.

It would not come as a surprise to see the market share of these two companies continue to grow in coming years, based on existing trends. Could they own 70% of the online ad marketing? 80%? 90%?

What are the implications of two companies controlling such a large percentage of the advertising market?

We are already seeing the publishing industry suffer for it. Every other company/website that relies on advertising dollars to survive is going to struggle to compete for those dollars when more and more of them are going to these giants.

And for advertisers themselves, it could mean higher prices and increased competition. With fewer options to go to for prospecting, you will find that you are competing not just within your own industry but against all companies aiming to make the most out of those two largest channels.

If you are not feeling the squeeze now, you will soon. So make sure you know how to optimize and get the most out of these critical sources of new customers.

Will Google Price Extensions Lead to Dangerous Price Wars?

For the uninitiated, Google has been slowly rolling out a variety of “search extensions” over the last several years in an effort to give searchers more information on the results page and increase their likelihood of clicking on an ad.

One of the latest extensions is called “Price Extensions”. Price extensions are exactly what they sound like – they give advertisers the ability to showcase prices (up to 3) within ad copy.

See an example here.

Is this a good thing? It depends on who you ask.

Google is a public company with a profit motive, so the move is an attempt (above all else) to increase clicks on ads, which is how they earn the majority of their money. If it does this, it’s a good thing for Google.

For searching shoppers and advertisers, the question is not so easy to answer.

To understand why, we have to think about the concept of pricing, and where it fits in the marketing or selling strategy. Price is an important lever that marketers have in order to increase demand for their products and services, but it is not the only one. That’s why you don’t see every company out there actively advertising their price. They advertise those things that make their offering unique.

When one advertiser in a market starts using price extensions to show their prices to searchers on Google, it may benefit them initially. But when their competitors start copying them, and all the ads show prices, the consequences could be dangerous. Suddenly, consumers are picking a company or product based on the prices listed in the ad instead of fully comparing the benefits that each offer.

Price becomes the one thing that consumers shop on (more so, in my opinion, than it is right now).

That favors the lowest priced competitor, obviously. The lowest price extension will get the most clicks, which may cause the higher priced products to consider lowering prices to match or beat, attracting more clicks.

This is a slippery slope for advertisers, who will feel pressure to “keep up” with lower prices and may adjust their offerings to match the need for a lower price. And this hurts consumers, who suddenly have worse options (cheaper options) to choose from.

Lower price does not mean better value. And I fear that price extensions, while they might be a short-term boon for Google, may do damage to the marketplaces they are used in most.

Related: While not the same topic, this article on ecommerce pricing is a thorough and fantastic analysis of pricing in the digital world as it stands today.

The Future of Search is Voice Search

We live in a world that is changing faster than most people realize. We will soon be sharing our roads with self-driving vehicles and our sidewalks with delivery robots. Upwards of 50% of tasks Americans perform at work can be automated with technology that already exists today.

In the digital marketing world, the landscape is always changing. Today’s example is voice search.

Just as people were finally coming to appreciate mobile search as a departure from desktop search, we have a new trend that is fast becoming critical for businesses to understand.

Voice search may seem like the future. Or it may seem like a fad that consumers will grow weary of. I’ve heard both opinions expressed, but the truth is that voice search is here already (and here to stay).

Google, the world’s leader in search, readily admits as much if you ask them. As of mid-2016, 20% of all mobile searches were voice searches, meaning someone spoke their query instead of typing it. According to more recent data, 41% of people in the US use voice search on a daily basis. And with the rise in popularity of IOT (Google Home, Amazon Echo), where users interact with digital assistants by voice alone, we can expect this trend to continue.

What does it mean for marketers?

Just like mobile search is different from desktop search, we must realize that voice search is different from mobile search. The biggest difference will be in user behavior. Search terms people use when they speak will vary from those typed. This means that companies will need to rethink their keyword strategy in both search engine marketing and search engine optimization.

Google and other search engines should start to break out voice search keywords in the next 12 months. We can start by taking a close look at how the search terms different from what users have traditionally used, and then match our strategy to consumer behavior.